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“It was complicated…” – Erik ten Hag selling Man United player after interview call-out



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Manchester United are set to sell Alvaro Fernandez to Benfica just months after he detailed that Erik ten Hag ‘didn’t count on’ him in an interview.

Fernandez, 20, has been one of the highly-rated players within United’s academy setup in recent years. He was signed from Real Madrid in the summer of 2020.

The Spaniard won the club’s under-23s Player of the Season in 2021/22 – the left-back played 32 games, scoring four and assisting seven.

In the following campaign – and Erik ten Hag’s first at the club – Fernandez was sent on loan for his first taste of professional action in the Championship with Preston North End.

The defender ended up winning the club’s Young Player of the Year award after some impressive contributions in his 42 games, 19 of which were starts.

He was afforded minutes during United’s pre-season tour of Amercia but when Ten Hag faced an injury crisis early in the season, he looked for external solutions instead.

Fernandez was the only fit left-back at the club when Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia were both ruled out with long-term injuries. But the Spaniard was sent on loan to Granada CF and United brought in Sergio Reguilon on loan – who they have since sent back to Tottenham Hotspur.

During an interview with The Athletic at the beginning of last month, Fernandez detailed the reasons behind the move and explains that he was told Ten Hag wasn’t confident in him to play at United before his latest move.

“I sat down to talk but as Gines (Carvajal, his agent) was at a distance, it was a bit more complicated,” Fernandez said. “In the end, it was done at the last minute.

“What message did United give me? That I should go out on loan, that Ten Hag didn’t count on me, that I should continue to gain experience, rhythm, and we’ll see what happens in the future.

“But it’s clear that football doesn’t end at any club and that you have to keep working. My main objective is to return to United and make a place for myself there.”

Whilst Fernandez would go on to outline his ambitions to play at Old Trafford again later in the interview, it appears that his chances of a debut withnthe club have passed following the most recent reports.

Fabrizio Romano has reported that Fernandez is closing in on a move to Benfica this month with personal terms agreed between the player and Portuguese club.

Originally, the Italian journalist stated that it would be on a permanent transfer, but he has since said that it could instead be a ‘different formula’ with talks taking place on Friday evening.